A new study says that how well your baby sleeps through the night is determined before your baby is even born. An article in the Wall Street Journal says the following:
While a mother is still pregnant, researchers can size up the likelihood that her infant will be a good sleeper by assessing the mother’s beliefs about infant sleep, says a study in the latest issue of Child Development.
If an expectant mom thinks babies who cry at night are suffering distress and need to be soothed and comforted, her baby is likely to have more wakeful, weepy nights later, after controlling for other factors. On the other hand, if an expectant mother believes parents must draw boundaries against getting involved with a baby at bedtime, her infant will probably sleep better, assuming other factors are equal.
The major reason is that moms’ beliefs shape their behavior and feelings toward their babies, which in turn influence babies’ sleep, says the study of 85 mothers and their babies by Liat Tikotzky and Avi Sadeh at Tel-Aviv University. Mothers who believed in comforting crying babies at night also tended to be more active in trying to soothe them, holding or feeding them or bringing them into their own beds. These behaviors led to poorer sleep for the babies.
On the other hand, mothers who believed in limiting their involvement were less activist at night and also had babies who awakened less.
How do you feel about this study? If you are the parent of a baby who wakes up throughout the night, did you fall into the “comforting” category while you were pregnant? Voice your comments below!